Tuesday, September 8, 2009

SA coach reveals England interest

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has told BBC Sport he would relish the opportunity to take the England role before he quits international cricket.
The top-ranked Proteas host England in four Tests from 16 December and Arthur was linked to the England coaching job before Andy Flower took over in April.
"The England job is certainly something I would like to look at," said Arthur.
"I think Andy Flower will be there for a long time but England's a temptation for my family and I to explore."
Revealing his belief that Zimbabwe-born Flower, who together with captain Andrew Strauss masterminded England's thrilling Ashes success over Australia in August, would be in the job "for a long time to come", Arthur revealed he would also eye up other challenges in England.
"If not with the England team, then perhaps one of the counties because I used to follow country cricket extensively when I was growing up," he told the BBC in an exclusive interview.
"There's such history and culture in England with cricket and that really fascinates me."
South Africa are officially the top team in both Test cricket and the 50-over-a-side one-day format following a winter in which they won a rare Test series in Australia.
They host the eight-nation ICC Champions Trophy from 22 September and are grouped with England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Arthur, a prolific batsman in South African domestic cricket in the 1990s, was a surprise choice to take over from Ray Jennings as national coach in May 2005.
But after a difficult start, he has forged a unit that has become used to winning under Graeme Smith's astute captaincy.
Arthur, 41, the same age as Flower, believes England's Ashes victory will set up an exciting series in South Africa at Christmas.
"For Flower and Andrew Strauss to have won the Ashes in their first series as a combination is unbelievable and will give them great confidence," he stated.
"I actually thought Australia would win 2-1 because they had so much quality in the batting department but England played well and were full value for their triumph."
"We respect England highly and realise it's going to be a tip-top series where we must maintain our standards throughout if we are to be successful."
He is extremely keen to cling on to the number one ranking in Tests after South Africa became the first team to knock Australia off the top since the system was introduced in 2003.
"It's something we wanted to do and set out to achieve - and to have got there is obviously very rewarding," he added.
"We realise now that the easy part was getting there, so our next challenge is maintaining our consistency over the last two years so that we can stay there for a long time.
"I don't think this side has reached its full potential yet, which is very exciting.
"We're just starting to tap into the potential so the next couple of years are going to be very bright and rewarding - but we must work hard and do things right."
First up though is the chance to address South Africa's repeated failure to win major ICC trophies. They started as favourites for the 2007 World Cup but were ruthlessly dumped out by the Australians in the semi-finals.
They will also begin this year's Champions Trophy as the team to beat and have a fine batting line-up with four players - AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis - in the top 10 of the player rankings.
Arthur said: "I don't know why we've failed in the past and it's going to be the monkey on our back for as long as it takes us to win one of these competitions.
"Hopefully we can put it to bed and I believe we will be right amongst it if we play to the best of our abilities.
"We have a really good one-day side with probably the best fielding unit in world cricket but competition is going to be fierce.
"I think any one of the eight sides can win it and that is great for world cricket."

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